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How To Clean Walls – The Safe Way

Walls can also be notoriously hard to clean. If you are looking for the best advice on how to clean walls, whether it’s your child’s art, or messy paw prints from a beloved family pet, then you should keep reading.

Some homeowners like to treat their home with pride, keeping it clean for as long as possible. However, sometimes it is not always easy to keep your home clean. Pets and children can be one of the worst offenders of getting your walls dirty.

How can you remove stains without damaging the paint underneath? How can you remove more tricky stains such as ink and felt pen? What are the best non-corrosive substances to use on your walls?

Here we have all the solutions, so you’ll know what to do in each situation.

What Stains Can You Get On Your Walls?

There are plenty of stains that can affect your walls that will be almost impossible to remove. One of the main ones is pen and crayon, usually applied by a very curious child. Crayon is relatively easy to remove, however, stains from a felt pen will be a lot more difficult.

Wine is also a very common stain, often the result of a full glass of red that has been dropped on the floor and splashed up the walls.

Other stains might include a rich pasta sauce, dirt from mucky boots, sweat smudges and dirty fingerprints, especially around light switches.

However, before you go cleaning your walls, there will be a few do’s and don’ts that you’ll need to bear in mind.

How to clean walls

How To Clean Walls – Without Removing Paint

If you have an eggshell, satin, or flat wall, then you’ll want to make sure that you want to use a soft sponge rather than a coarse brush, as this could take off the initial layer of paint.

Paint that is applied near doors, baseboards, and windows is generally considered to be a lot easier to scrub off than the paint on the interior of your walls. This is due to the fact that it is considered a high-touch area and is generally a stronger, gloss paint.

You should never use harsh chemicals on your walls, as this could also lead to the paint becoming permanently discolored.

A couple of things to note about the type of paint on your walls:

Glossed Walls Are Prone To Scratches

If you are working with glossed walls, or trims, then you’ll need to make sure that you have mild degreasers. Avoiding the use of a harsh scrubbing tool will help to prevent scratches from appearing on this surface. Always use a soft sponge for this purpose.

Latex Paint Is Also Prone To Scratching

If you are working with latex paint, then you should make sure that you use warm water with dish soap or even white vinegar. Dip your sponge into the water and then wring it dry to make sure that you have no excess moisture on your wall.

If you are using vinegar and you don’t want a lasting odor to be left on your wall, then we would suggest that you wipe it off with a damp cloth and warm water when you finish.

How To Clean Oil-Based Paint Walls

You should not use vinegar-based washing fluid for oil-based paint walls, as this will cause your paint to come off. If you are cleaning this type of wall, we would recommend something that does not contain any chemicals.

Always use things like dish soap and warm water, or baking soda, as these are non-caustic substances that will remove the dirt or grime but leave the oil-based paint intact.

How To Clean Mold Off Walls

Mold is one of the worst things to find on your walls, not only is it unsightly, but it can also pose a serious health risk if it is left un treated.

When cleaning mold, simply mix one part bleach with three parts water in a bucket. Using a scrub brush or heavy-duty sponge, vigorously scrub the mold-affected wall with the bleach/water solution until the mold spots have disappeared. Be careful not to scrub so much that you damage the paint.

After cleaning the mold from the wall, you can apply a spray of diluted clove oil to the wall, this will help prevent the mold from returning in the future.

Cleaning Electrical Switches

When cleaning light switches or other electrical switches, you’ll need to be safe and use as little water as possible. It goes without saying that water and electricity do not mix.

A damp (not wet) cloth should be all you need to remove marks from grubby fingers on your switches.

If they are particularly filthy and need a bit more cleaning you can turn off the main switch to your house, this will avoid any water from getting into the circuits and potentially electrocuting you.

How to clean mold off walls

Clean The Walls Before Cleaning

This might seem strange at first, but you should try and remove the dust before you wash your walls with water. This is because a sponge soaked in water will actually pick up dirt and grime, smearing it across your surface and making the sponge dirtier.

If you are trying to dust away cobwebs, then we would recommend that you use a broom or a feather duster to get into those hard-to-reach corners. You can also use a vacuum cleaner for this job.

You can also use a brush attachment with your vacuum to ensure that you remove the more stubborn dirt and dust from the corners of your living room.

Test Your Cleaning Products

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you should always test new cleaning products on an inconspicuous part of the wall first. There’s nothing worse than applying your cleaning solution straight onto a wall and it leaving streaks and dulling the paintwork. 

You’ll need to make sure that you have a test surface that is similar to the wall that you have in your house. Try and only apply a small amount of cleaning solution to your wall so that it does not damage too much of the area.

Make Sure You Clean The Wall Properly

Cleaning the wall properly will be very important and it will all come down to technique. You should always use soft sponges with a microfiber cloth. Apply it gently in circles to remove the top layer of dirt.

If you apply too much pressure to any painted surface, then you run the risk of spotting or discoloration of your paintwork.

Once the dirt is transferred to the surface of your sponge, then you should rinse it thoroughly in your bucket. When the stain is fully removed, you should dry it with a microfiber cloth.

howe to clean painted walls

Clean Your Walls Regularly

Once you have cleaned your walls, make sure that you maintain them regularly. This will stop stains from seeping into the pores of your paint, which will make them much more difficult to clean at a later date.

You’ll need to keep an eye on door frames, as this will be the place where fingerprints build up. Wiping down these surfaces regularly will cause you little damage to the paintwork and keep the surfaces nice and clean.


We hope that our guide to cleaning walls has helped you when you next approach this task. It is crucial that you use to right tools and cleaning solution and do not scrub so hard that the paint comes off.

Before you go, check out the video below to see how the pro’s at Clean My Space answer the question of how to clean walls.

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